Richest Counties in Michigan
One way to determine the richest counties in Michigan is by considering the median income, investment income, median home value, and overall wealth index. It’s also helpful to know the population in that area when considering the richest counties.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the average median household income in the United States is $67,521. The average median income for Michigan as a whole is 66,986 so keep that in mind as you read about the following counties:
1. Leelanau County: Richest Counties in Michigan
The median income in Leelanau County is $72,709, with investment income being $56,192 and a wealth index of 27.59. The median home income also shows the economic situation of this area, with it coming in at $509,272.
Leelanau County is located near Traverse City in the Northwest Lower Peninsula and is known for its many wineries in Lake Michigan beach towns. The population in this area is around 22,301, and residents can take in daily sights of the breathtaking Leelanau Peninsula. Leelanau Peninsula is also where you’ll find Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, offering breathtaking sights of Lake Michigan and its coastline.
One of the reasons Leelanau County has a high GDP per capita is its agricultural tourism. You can find heritage tours and wineries to visit, both of which have become popular for tourism, boosting the economy in the area.
The 60th lieutenant governor of Michigan, Connie Binsfeld, lived in Leelanau County on Glen Lake and impacted local politics. Another notable person from the area is Liz Moeggenberg, a WNBA player who grew up in Leelanau County’s Empire, MI.
2. Washtenaw County
With a median income of $79,198 and an investment income of $44,796, Washtenaw County is the second richest county in Michigan. The population in this area is 372,258, and the median home value is $373,627, with a wealth index of 27.37.
Washtenaw County is located in southeast Michigan and includes 27 cities, villages, and townships. This county has a high GDP per capita because of its proximity to transportation hubs, including highways and airports. It also has a strong business climate where local businesses are supported by active chambers of commerce and opportunities, helping them thrive and develop.
Education could also contribute to the high GDP. More than 57% of the residents 25 or older in Washtenaw County have bachelor’s degrees or higher. This number could reflect the many colleges in the area, including the University of Michigan.
One of the most notable people from Washtenaw County is Grace Lee Whitney, who was born in Ann Arbor, MI, in 1930. She’s famous for her role in the original “Star Trek” show and some of the films.
3. Livingston County
In this southeast Michigan area, the median income in Livingston County is $88,908, with investment income equaling $25,044. The median home value is $362,766, with the overall wealth index at 26.54.
With 16 townships, two villages, and two cities, Livingston County’s population is 193,866. You’ll find rural agricultural areas, historic downtowns, and suburban living. It also provides lakeside living and large recreational land, so everyone can find a space they love.
One of the reasons Livingston County has a high GDP per capita is its low unemployment rate. Plus, those with jobs in the area frequently experience growth in their income.
Charlie Gehringer was born in Livingston County in Fowlerville, MI, in 1903. He grew up to play baseball for the Detroit Tigers and was honored in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
4. Oakland County: Richest Counties in Michigan
Oakland County has a median income of $86,275 and investment income of $48,897. With the median home value being $334,448 and the overall wealth index being 26.04, it’s clear why Oakland County is fourth on the list.
This area has a population of 1,274,395 and is in the Detroit metropolitan area in southeast Michigan. With the large population, they also have a larger corporate tax base, contributing to their relatively high GDP per capita. They also have many career options, allowing everyone to find something they can thrive in.
David Spade, an actor and comedian, grew up in Birmingham, MI in Oakland County. He is known for his work on “Saturday Night Live” and many popular movies.
5. Grand Traverse
The median income in Grand Traverse County is $69,393, and the investment income is $47,522. Plus, the median home value is $372,836, with an overall wealth index of 22.50. This county is the largest in Northern Michigan, and you can find it in the northwest part of the lower peninsula, with a population of 95,238.
Grand Traverse County has a high GDP per capita because innovation and growth are encouraged. Local businesses work together and support one another, allowing all the chance to thrive.
Carter Oosterhouse, television personality and HGTV home improvement expert, grew up in Grand Traverse County. He was born in Traverse City, MI, in 1976 and went on to star in shows like “Million Dollar Rooms” and “Trading Spaces”.
Ottawa County has a median income of $77,288 and investment income of $36,125. The median home value in this area is $341,944, and the overall wealth index is 22.43. It is located in the Grand Rapids-Kentwood, MI, Metropolitan area and has a population of 296,200.
This area has a high GDP per capita because of the high amount of tourism in the area. It boosts the success of small businesses while bringing people to the area. Another reason for the success in this area is the low unemployment rate, indicating most citizens of Ottawa County are employed.
Garrett Borns is a singer and songwriter born in 1992 in Grand Haven, MI, part of Ottawa County. Known as BØRNS, Garrett debuted a full-length album that topped the charts for alternative and rock music.
With a median income of $63,488 and an investment income of $47,025, Emmet County ranks seventh on the list with an overall wealth index of 20.64 and is found at the top of the Lower Peninsula. The median home value in this area is $325,199, and the population is 34,112.
One of the reasons Emmet County is one of the richest counties in Michigan is its diverse economy. This area has an even mix of retail, industrial, tourism, agricultural, and other professions. There’s nothing off-limits in this area, allowing everyone to find a career they enjoy.
One of the most famous people from Emmet County, MI is Hal Smith, who played Otis Campbell on “The Andy Griffith Show”. He was also a voice actor on other projects until he passed away in 1994.
The median income in Benzie is $68,875, and the investment income is $37,534. The evidence of being one of the richest counties in Michigan doesn’t stop there, however. With a population of 17,970, the median home value is $311,089, with the overall wealth index being 20.57.
Benzie County is located in the northwest portion of the lower peninsula. One of the reasons Benzie County has a high GDP per capita is that there are many natural resources and agricultural land in the area. Plus, tourism income is higher than other areas, with watersports and snowsports being popular.
One notable person from Benzie County is Alan Wells, who played as an actor on shows and films. He was born in 1926 and later featured in roles in “Wanted: Dead or Alive” and other works.
Summary of Richest Counties in Michigan
|Rank||County||Median Income||Median Home Value||Population||Location within the State||Overall Wealth Index|
|1||Leelanau||$72,709||$509,272||22,301||Northwest Lower Peninsula||27.59|
|4||Oakland||$86,275||$334,448||1,274,395||Detroit metropolitan area in southeast Michigan||26.04|
|5||Grand Traverse||$69,393||$372,836||95,238||Northwest part of the lower peninsula||22.50|
|6||Ottawa||$77,288||$341,944||296,200||Grand Rapids-Kentwood, MI, Metropolitan area||22.43|
|7||Emmet||$63,488||$325,199||34,112||At the top of the Lower Peninsula||20.64|
|8||Benzie||$68,875||$311,089||17,970||Northwest portion of the lower peninsula||20.57|